Coronavirus is spreading faster than expected in New York State, where officials are now bracing for it to peak in two or three weeks instead of 45 days as previously projected, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Tuesday.
The governor said that because the infection rate is now doubling about every three days, he increased from 110,000 to 140,000 the projected number of hospital beds that the Empire State will need — and increased from 30,000 to 40,000 the number of intensive care unit beds that are expected to be needed.
“We are not slowing it and it is accelerating on its own,” Cuomo told reporters Tuesday in Manhattan. “We haven’t flattened the curve and the curve is actually increasing.”
As of Tuesday morning, New York State had 25,665 people infected with COVID-19, 10 times the number of cases confirmed in California, Washington, and Florida. That includes 210 deaths in New York. On Long Island, Nassau County had 2,869 cases and Suffolk had 1,880.
In addition to mandating hospitals increase their bed capacity by at least 50 percent — the state currently has 53,000 — and calling in federal agencies to set up temporary hospitals to deal with the excess patients, Cuomo also chided federal officials to help secure ventilators for New York.
The state has about 3,000 already, anticipates needing 30,000, and has acquired 7,000. Cuomo said the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent 400 but urged the U.S. Department Health and Human Services to release its stockpile of 20,000 ventilators. The governor said the other states will peak after New York and Cuomo vowed to personally ensure federal ventilators are sent to other states where they’re needed once New York’s peak ends.
“What happens to New York is gonna wind up happening…elsewhere,” he said. “We’re just getting there first. Deploy the resources here in New York and once we’re past that critical point, deploy the ventilators to other parts of the country where they are needed.”
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